BBC's Martha Kearney remembers Holocaust survivor relative

January 27, 2011
Martha Kearney and Sir Martin Gilbert at the Holocaust Educational Trust event

Martha Kearney and Sir Martin Gilbert at the Holocaust Educational Trust event

Radio 4 news presenter Martha Kearney spoke movingly about her personal connections to the Shoah at the Holocaust Educational Trust's annual Lord Merlyn-Rees lecture, held on Monday at the Houses of Parliament.

Ms Kearney, the event chair, said her late mother-in-law Isabel Shaw "was a survivor of the camps. It was only in her later years that she began to talk to me about life during the war. That is why I think the work of the Holocaust Educational Trust is so important, by keeping those experiences alive and making sure that other generations learn from them."

Delivering the lecture, historian Sir Martin Gilbert focused on this year's Holocaust Memorial Day theme of Untold Stories, pointing out that countless recollections of loss and hope during the Holocaust had never been shared.

"No day passed from September 1, 1939 to May 7, 1945 when somewhere across the vast expanse of tortured, captive Europe, Jews did not make some effort to defy their tormentors and non-Jews did not seek to help, despite the dangers."

There were also emotional presentations from HET student ambassadors from its Lessons from Auschwitz project.

"Nothing prepared me for the loneliness and sadness that we encountered at Auschwitz," confessed Vyvy Nguyeri from Woodhouse College, Finchley. "I have the greatest respect for those who persevered there. We believe that the Holocaust should never be a story left untold."

Tory Party chair Baroness Warsi said afterwards: "Learning about the Holocaust reminds us of what unchallenged discrimination can lead to and it is thus a powerful tool to fight the ongoing battle against bigotry, intolerance, racism and hatred."

The lecture is in memory of the former Labour Home Secretary who co-founded the HET with Lord Janner in 1988.

For more on Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 see our dedicated HMD page

Last updated: 3:37pm, January 27 2011